– Typhoon Nalke hits the Philippines, killing at least 72 people
Expected since Thursday, Tropical Storm Nalgay hit the Philippines on Saturday, causing flooding and landslides.
At least 72 people died in flash floods and landslides in the Philippines when Tropical Storm Nalgay hit the archipelago on Saturday, according to a new report by authorities.
Nalgay, which had been expected since Thursday, finally hit the Philippines’ main island of Luzon early Saturday, with sustained winds of 95 km/h, an hour later on the sparsely populated island of Catanduanes.
A refrigerator like a boat
As of Saturday morning, the death toll stood at 72, the country’s civil defense director, Rafaelido Alejandro, announced. He said at least 14 people were still missing and 33 were injured. The previous official count was 67 dead.
Rescuers are now concentrating their efforts on Guxiong village, where dozens of bodies were found on Friday. Photos released by the Coast Guard show rescue workers using a refrigerator as an improvised boat to rescue children stranded in the waves on the island of Leyte in the central Philippines.
The region started receiving heavy rain from Thursday evening. The floods engulfed several towns and villages on the island of Mindanao, carrying trees, stones and soil in their wake. About 500 houses were destroyed. But the Philippines Meteorological Department has warned that Typhoon Nalke could also hit the capital, Manila.
“Widespread flooding and rain-triggered landslides” are expected in the capital city of 13 million people, the bulletin said. There is a “low to moderate storm risk” or large waves hitting coastal areas.
“Based on our forecasts, this storm is very strong and we are prepared for it,” said Rafaelido Alejandro, a few of the 5,000 teams of rescuers ready to intervene. People living in or near the path of the storm are urged to stay indoors.
Bank holiday weekend
The storm hit at the start of a long holiday week in the Philippines, where millions of people visit their hometowns to pay their respects at the graves of loved ones. But the Coast Guard has suspended ferry services to most of the archipelago, where tens of thousands of people board boats every day. More than 7,000 people were evacuated ahead of the storm’s arrival, the Office of Civil Defense said.
An average of 20 typhoons and storms hit the Philippines each year, killing people and livestock in their path and destroying farms, homes, roads and bridges, although the south is rarely affected. As the planet suffers from global warming, storms and hurricanes are becoming more powerful, scientists warn.
In late September, Typhoon Noru killed at least 10 people, including five rescue workers, in the Philippines. Tropical Storm Megi hit the country in April, killing at least 148 people and causing massive landslides.